tv [untitled] CSPAN July 1, 2009 7:30am-8:00am EDT
everything -- the only important people are upper management, ceo's at the top. host: this is barely on the independent line. caller: i was hoping i could get in -- host: i waited 30 days to call and -- caller: i waited 30 days to call and now i have to answer this question. i had two things to say. democrats are never like republicans. they never are in unison, never. there's always two or three itht have to go off into the wilderness. and that will happen with the 60
democrats. host: your second point, briefly? caller: my second point it is in this sanford in south carolina. that really bothers main that the republican congress in south carolina isn't in teaching him. they have no morals -- isn't in teaching -- impeaching him. they have no morals. host: after this short break, erin mcpike will join us come a reporter with "congress daily." stick around.
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30 years ago america's cable company's critics c-span as a public service. a private business initiative -- no government mandate, no private money. >> "washington journal" continues. host: more about all franken story with erin mcpike, reporter for "congress daily." let us start with the court ruling. it was unanimous. what did it say? guest: on every count, franken prevailed and coleman's challenges were thrown out. he said in many ways the voters have been disenfranchised, that many of these votes needed to be counted again and he lost on all of those counts. host: quite a legal challenge over the months. is this definitely positively absolutely over? is there anything else legally? guest: now that he has conceded, i think all goes by the wayside.
host: coleman moved out of the picture for now. some suggest he may have a political future. what could it be? guest: the interesting thing is, yesterday in a speech, he said by feature is a topic for another day. it could be that it runs -- he runs for governor. it does mean he is not completely ready to step out of the spotlight. he will perhaps be available down the road for some kind of political future in minnesota, i would think, based on what he said. host: let us go back to washington. the senate comes back in next week. busy july and august and a very busy fall. lots on the agenda. what does al franken's presents mean? the magic number, 60, what does it mean? guest: of first of all i believe he said yesterday they are looking at wednesday for when he will be sworn in an officially be the next senator for minnesota. it is interesting because he,
throughout the campaign, said his biggest issue was health care. he made a very big deal about health care, even more so than other senate candidates. i know during this eight-month process, he has been i guess sort of miserable because he has not been able to be here and legislate. he told his staff as long as i make it there for health care, i guess i will be ok. that is his big issue and he will be there for that. for him that is important. he will also be on the health education and labor and -- health, education, and labor committee. while the finance committee is doing more with health care at this time, he will be part of the fight. he will be a big player to some extent. in terms of 60, he did say yesterday that he will not be the 60th democratic vote. he does not want to be considered as that but he wants to be another senator from minnesota. it is interesting how both sides are playing this 60, because democrats will point out that
both senator kennedy and senator robert byrd are not in the senate at the time, they are out for health problems. and there are of course moderate senators in the democratic party that now have more power perhaps because they don't always fall in line with the democrats. but on the other hand, there are republicans saying there are no excuses, they can do anything they like. let's see it. host: keep the calls coming in for the next 25 minutes-stretch for erin mcpike from "congress daily." american university graduate from several worse ago, worked for "national journal" and has covered the house and senate races and political landscape for "congress daily. " a little more on health care and senator frank and. what does he believe in? guest: he believes in universal coverage. he very much toes of the democratic line on that in that -- toes the democratic line
saying universal care without coverage is not universal care. he wants to see very serious overhaul of the system and our country. host: of the committee assignments. you mentioned the senate health committee. also the judiciary committee. speak to the judiciary. that is considered a good assignment. guest: that is a good assignment and that was not mentioned early on yesterday. i believe it was special committee on aging and add -- agriculture. that is a new one but that is a big assignment especially sotomayor. host: how you get that? guest: i imagine his legal challenge provided some sort of help. i think he proved himself for more than two years now that he really hasn't buckled under pressure. and as much as has been thrown
about him in the media because of his past, he really did a decent job of keeping himself together throughout the campaign and show that he can be a legitimate politician and someone to call upon. with that, maybe he is a good face for the party and maybe he could be an effective communicator 4 than in the spotlight. host: donnel is on the line. independent line. the topic is al franken. go ahead. caller: i think that al franken, being a little bit different, might be a breath of fresh air. but the thing i have seen -- and i am 70 years old now. i have voted for both republicans and democrats and i have been disappointed in both of them. i would hope that the american people for the most part would start thinking of themselves
more as independents. if we allow one party complete control, we are asking for disaster. don't forget, the problems we got some economically and the wars, were caused by most of these congress people and only two reasons -- they are either enact or corrupt or a combination. and the longer they are in congress, the more chances they have of being corrupt. i have never seen anything any different in my life. so if you consider yourself a republican or a democrat, you are really narrowing your choices. host: thank you. erin mcpike. guest: one thing i will say to that is indeed there are more independents after this last election. i think voters are trying to consider themselves more as independents, absolutely. in terms of being corrupt -- yes, we have had scandals in the
past several years. but i think there are more independent voters out there. host: @ twitter contribution -- 60 democrats will not make any difference. democrats don't agree on anything. if they agreed, they'd be republicans. al franken describes himself not just as liberal but a very liberal. put that in context of the democratic send it -- senate. guest: he said in the past that he is very progressive, and they are trying to call themselves progressive instead of liberal. but yesterday he seemed to suggest that he will not always be a reliable democratic vote. i think that he will be. there are plenty of liberal democrats in the senate. as far as his boat is concerned, that is one vote that they have that they have not had in the
past few months and a vote that last year was a republican vote. does it change the dynamic that much? no, but in the last several years we added 14 more democrats to the senate. host: he also said yesterday that he needs to serve the people who didn't vote for him, republicans in minnesota. what does it mean as he moves forward? guest: i would point out that barack obama in his victory speech said much the same thing, and he said no matter if you voted for me, a republican or democrat or independent, i will be your president, too. i think that was pretty much a standard line, that he is very serious about the job. i think he is very excited. notice when he and his wife bounded down to a microphones, they were more excited than i think i see many senators or elected officials or politicians ever. he was very excited to be here. i think he is serious about
doing a very good job. host: we have one of the senators'constituents on the line. minnesota. tim, calling the democrats' line. what you make of all of this and what you see as the future? caller: a great, great day for minnesotans to finally have him be seated. i would just like to comment on the previous caller a while back, and you read an article alluding to the same thing, that somehow this was a fraudulent election and that it had been stolen. and in the article, the only evidence they were siding was a completely different election. and norm coleman's all lawyers went on record an admitted to the fact that there was no fraud at all. host: if you missed this -- year it is in "the wall street
journal." they call it "the absentee senator." one of their points is the unfortunate lesson is you don't need to win the vote on election day as long as your lawyers are creative enough to have enough new or disqualified ballots counted after the fact. they point out it is not the first time. guest: well, i know a lot of people who went up to minnesota during the recounts -- during the recount. both sides did everything they could to have votes that were favorable to them being included and those that were not as favorable, not be. so, it was a very close election. there was a lot pored over every vote. at the end of the day, it has been eight months so, sure, there is going to be hard feelings and clearly yesterday from certain republicans there were hard feelings. you saw michael steele's statement from the republican national committee, he did not
even congratulate al franken. yes, there are hard feelings and those who don't necessarily agree with the results. but i think this one is a little bit more solid even then florida could be considered in the 2000 presidential race. post that a republican from minnesota -- host: republican from minnesota. caller: we knew the day in -- we knew the day they said it would go to a recount, that norm had lost. they would come up with the votes in some way. there were more voters who voted than registered. how can that be? that is really my question. host: something you can comment on? guest: i think part of that is provisional balance and some people may vote on election day and day -- or they may vote previously, an early vote -- like i said, the provisional
ballots. and that's been part of that could be part of the problem. now, when they go into a recount and they check things against the vote roles they would withdraw things. so i think that is checked afterwards, if that makes sense. host: al franken cannot win because it has celebrity -- saying so would-be gop political angst at its best. writes one viewer. independent line from jacksonville. caller: in beat up -- being from florida, if you do not have to mark your ballots correctly they should throw the vote out. what i wanted to say is i hope that mr. franken, being liberal, progressive, or whatever he may be, is physically responsible
because if we keep going down the road we are going down, we will spend ourselves right into a bitter recession than we are already in. with that, i will let the young lady speak. guest: well, in terms of al franken being a celebrity, i think that did help him with name recognition. as i said earlier, he announced in february of 2007. so, he had a two-year long campaign he sensibly. so we tried very hard to work through some of those things. that is where i would come out as far as that is concerned that, yes, it helped him with name recognition but there was a lot he had to overcome as well because they had a background as a comedian. there are republicans who think this is a sign of the apocalypse, if you ever watched him on "saturday night live" that he should in no way be a
senator. but think it both helped him and hurt him, and in the end he did work very hard to rob it. and remember, this is minnesota. the only state in the nation to vote for what the mondale if -- district of columbia is not a state, of course -- they elected paul wellstone, an interesting but beloved senator, and jesse ventura was governor. this is a state with a unique independent streak. they will take chances on colleges since it they see a reason to. host: he suggests he will lay low, work hard, study the issues. he wants to follow the model of senator clinton when she was there and first started. but we know he was a comedian. i wanted to ask, what is his personality like to be like on the floor of the senate or off the floor in committees? guest: i actually interviewed him in april of 2008.
i have heard from other reporters who had spoken to him over the years that he could be a very boring interview because he wanted to be considered a policy wonk. if you listened to his show previously, he was animated but he was wonky. he was actually very interesting with made. he was not boring at all. he was obviously very up to speed on all of the issues and he was taking things seriously, but he laughed a couple of times. i asked him, if you are a senator, do you want to be a work force, more of a messenger -- work horse, a messenger on national tv, a deal maker? he said i want to be all of these things but i think i will be more of a work horse, and i care about policy. he has a reputation for cursing a lot. i said, what are you going to do about that?
he said, i don't view the senate as a place where you necessarily need to be doing that. he said something along the lines of, if john mccain curses at me, i will curse back, but i don't intend to toss swearwords into the senate. i think he has a lot of work to be in convincing people once he gets here that he is going to buckle down, but at the same time i think both republicans and democrats at least in the beltway has taken seriously in the last year at least and are looking forward to working with him because they know he is an expert on certain issues. host: does he have a staff in place? guest: a chief of staff, several on the communications team. he is putting staff together. it is not completely there yet. he referenced yesterday that he will not be able to necessarily jump been -- in. host: back to the calls for erin mcpike. democratic line, welcome to the
program. caller: i am so excited about al franken. i have been on the edge of my seat waiting to hear about this. i'm just so delighted to hear the outcome. i was a little bit worried when i heard governor pawlenty speak because he seemed like he knew what the outcome was going to be and he was waiting for norm coleman to make the decision whether to go to the u.s. supreme court. i'm wondering if he knew anything about the minnesota supreme court decision ahead of time -- which i think would be highly improper. guest: i don't know for sure. i do know he was telling people along time ago back in february and march of that he thought the legal battle was going to go on for months. i don't know if he knew. a couple of weeks ago, i believe
on a thursday, almost two weeks ago, we were hearing that the supreme court was going to rule at any minute. we thought it was going to happen back thursday. then it is cannot of the blue, i got an e-mail about 10 minutes before. whether gov. pawlenty new or not, i don't think so. i think he was under a lot of stress because of his own political career and what he was going to have to do about this. but i think he was largely trying to stay out of it and see what norm voleman -- coleman was going to do. host: bill lewis, you are on with erin mcpike -- duluth, you are on with erin mcpike." caller: it is strange that al franken would be considered a more reasonable candidate in
minnesota we do things reasonably. take that with a grain of salt. i think she is very right that frank and will be a very liberal voter in the senate. -- al franken will be a very liberal voter. guest: think i was struck by in norm coleman's statement was that he felt he ran a campaign in one to run and a legal battle he wanted to run. i spoke with coleman several times but -- several times last year and seemed to be more affected by the ups and downs of the race than some of the other senators who were running reelection last year. and for a long period of time i don't think he necessarily took franken seriously and thought that he was going to be just fine. and i think a lot of republicans also agreed with that. and i think because of the campaign that al franken ran and got down to business very early, i think that may have been a
mistake. once he realized that it was going to be a very serious and very competitive election, he started going negative very seriously so. to the point where i was at the minnesota state fair the weekend before the republican national convention, and i stood at norm coleman's boats and watched half -- as republican voter after republican voter jump into the booth and said we are really not happy. these ads are horrible. it is funny, at the very beginning of the race i spoke with ad consultants from both sides beset people are expecting a lot of blood -- out of the ads. they were not the best of ads, they were very negative, the vice of ads and a republican voters and supporters were very upset by that. and i think a lot of people were turned off to how coleman
presented himself. and if you recall at some point in october, he said i am setting up the negative ads and i would just run a positive campaign and get a bus tour that i believe was called "of the hope expressed, " which was interesting because that was barack obama's messages. rudy guiliani was on the campaign trail with them. he sort of changed course very dramatically toward the end of the campaign. but a lot of people were turned off by the campaign that coleman ran and for that reason i think al franken was given a leg up. and the independent candidate got a pretty significant share of the vote i think in large part because people did not want to support coleman after that. host: what does everything you just said mean to a governor's bid by norm coleman? guest: i think a lot will be wiped off the map because people understand it was a very close
race, he did what he needed to do. a lot of people had been upset in past recounts when their candidate didn't stick through. he stuck around as long as he could. he was actually very gracious yesterday and congratulated al franken several times. so, said a lot of decent things about the state. i think at the end of the day they are ready to move on and he will be largely forgiven. host: garden city, michigan. peggy on the republican line. caller: i am first time caller, and i wanted to give my opinion about al franken. i think the election was rigged. host: how do you know that? caller: it seems like people come in boats that were little thing -- that had little things on them and did not know how they voted. i think the world is an -- country is in the world of
trouble because he has the foulest now i have ever heard on tv. i don't think he should be a senator at all. host: erin mcpike, any thoughts? guest: like i said, there are some republicans i have spoken with you absolutely agree on that. one said yesterday they thought it was a sign of the apocalypse. i had someone say that after jesse ventura and al franken, minnesota should be given a time out as a state for the next five years until they earn their way back, which i thought was funny. there are people who agree with that but at the same time out franken really prove himself as someone who will try to work hard and do the best pecan, and that is all you can hope. we will see what he does. host: how he has proven as a fund-raiser -- "the star tribune" says the cost of the campaign was million-dollar and cost of the breakout was $12 million. how much was al franken's money, and how did he do raising money?
guest: he was a day extremely prodigious fund-raiser and he did not use his funds at all -- he was an extremely prodigious fund-raiser. he had been an outspoken advocate for causes and he was able to get lots of high-profile democratic figures to support him. there are certain figures early on in his campaign who were little hesitant, but the clintons can out, al gore came out, byron dorgan, a very serious senator, cannot. but time and time again he got big figures out because they supported him and they did a lot of fun raising early on. so i think he will be just fine as a fund raiser going forward. host: mich., tom on the democrats' line. caller: of good morning. thanks, as always, for c-span. i find it interesting that the republican callers who elected
an actor from "love boat" and ronald reagan to run the country, both actors, they find it distasteful that there is another actor only has a democrat in front of his name. but i would like to ask if she believes that now that the democrats have control of the house and senate in the white house, if we will actually get the change that was promised us, because that is why al franken one. host: what are you looking for? give us an example. guest: i think we need a completely sustainable grain economy on all levels. not just energy, but energy should be the first job tackled. wind turbines, water, so loss six -- cellosic @ the law. so far president obama has
dragged his feet and barely mentioned it. host: what is next. he wants change, in his view, finally. guest: i think we will know by the end of 2009 what they might be able to do. we will certainly know by the midterm elections. they are having difficulty with energy even though it passed the house last friday. we will see on health care. i think they are so, so desirous of getting these things through that they might not be quite as strong as certain strong democrats hope. but how much it changes, we will just see. the pendulum swing of politics. we will have to see. by the 2010 elections we will know something. host: our guest has been erin mcpike, political reporter from "congress daily." we will spend the next hour on he